(BPT) - Men across the United States are afflicted with a variety of health issues that are often preventable. There are a few simple steps you can take to improve your well-being in the short-term and help you stay healthy in the long-term.
First, remember Your Numbers Matter. Check in with your urologist to learn your numbers, such as your prostate specific antigen (PSA) number, testosterone levels, body mass index (BMI), blood glucose and blood pressure. Knowing these numbers helps patients make smart lifestyle choices while allowing physicians to more easily communicate the need to treat and prevent common, but often overlooked, urological conditions, such as prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction and overactive bladder.
'Many men have the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' mentality, which can lead them to avoid annual check-ups,' says Dr. Juan Reyna, president of LUGPA. 'This mentality is especially dangerous when you consider the number of diseases that have masked symptoms. Without a routine numbers check, it's possible these masked symptoms go undetected until it's too late.'
'Knowing your numbers is critical to detecting a disease early, in its most treatable stages,' says Jamie Bearse, president and CEO of ZERO - The End of Prostate Cancer. 'Almost 99 percent of prostate cancer cases can be beaten when detected early, but there are no symptoms for early stage prostate cancer, so a blood test is almost always necessary.'
Your numbers matter, and so does maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are four more ways you can improve your health in the short-term while taking care of yourself in the long-term:
Exercise. Many health issues can be either avoided or minimized with as little as an hour or two of physical activity a week. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death among men in the United States - killing one in every four males, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol as well as obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity. Stay active and decrease your chances of long term health conditions.
Eat well. Keep your heart and other vital organs healthy by maintaining a balanced diet. Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables and limit your intake of foods high in salt, fat, added sugars and calories. By doing this, you will decrease your chances of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease. High levels of LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and triglycerides can all be controlled through a simple change in diet.
Relax. Although some stress is good, severe levels can lead to anxiety and diminish your physical health, resulting in conditions that affect your cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and nervous systems. Take some time out of your day and do something you enjoy. For example, go for a walk during lunch or meditate.
Be proactive about your health. Studies have shown that men are less likely than women to get an annual physical exam. Screenings and exams can help prevent more serious health problems down the line and detect disease early, when it's most treatable.